man and woman looking at one another and the woman is filled with plants and vines that are creeping into the man's body

Rappaccini's Daughter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Student Question

Does Baglioni like Rappaccini in "Rappaccini's Daughter"? What are his views on him?

Quick answer:

Baglioni does not like Rappaccini, and he believes that Rappaccini's dedication to science has led him to be cold and unfeeling.

Expert Answers

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Professor Pietro Baglioni does not like Doctor Rappaccini.  When Giovanni first brings up Rappaccini's name, Baglioni's demeanor changes immediately, and he doesn't respond with the same cordiality that has characterized his speech and manner until now. He says, "The truth is, our worshipful Doctor Rappaccini has as much science as any member of the faculty—with perhaps one single exception—in Padua, or all Italy. But there are certain grave objections to his professional character." Baglioni claims that Rappaccini actually cares more about science than he does about humanity and that he doesn't view his patients as people but rather as subjects upon which he can experiment. Baglioni further insists that Rappaccini would likely gladly sacrifice human life, including his own, if it meant he could gain one more speck of knowledge to add to his already vast stores. This quest for knowledge ultimately leads to the short story's sad ending.

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